Statement by Bishop Gerard Clifford, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Armagh,
at the funeral of the McDonagh brothers in Drogheda

The funeral Mass for the McDonagh brothers will take place today at 2:00pm in Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Drogheda.  The Chief Celebrants at the Mass will be Fr John McAlinden CC and Fr Seán Ryan of St Peter’s Parish Drogheda, and Fr Derek Farrell PP of the Travelling People.  Bishop Gerard Clifford, representing Cardinal Seán Brady and Canon James Carroll, Parish Priest of St Peter’s Parish, will preside at the Mass.

Bishop Clifford said “On behalf of Cardinal Seán Brady, and the priests of the Armagh diocese, I extend to the McDonagh family our sincere sympathies on the death of Martin, Tony and James.

“This is one of the most tragic happenings in our diocese for some time.  A sense of enormous loss is evident throughout the local community and among your extended family members and friends.  No father or mother ever expects to see a son or daughter die as young people but to lose three sons in this way is a tragedy beyond comprehension.  To the parents Kathleen and Anthony and son Eddie I extend to you our deepest sympathies.

“At a time like this we try to understand and make sense of this great tragedy.  All we can say is that God loves your sons greatly, that He cares for them and that He cares for you.  We try to grapple with this loss, to find some meaning in this tragedy.  At this time of loss we turn to God and we entrust your boys to His fatherly care.  May they rest in peace.”

Canon Carroll said “I have known the McDonagh family for many years and hold them in the highest regard.  The local faith community has embraced this tragedy in the spirit of prayerful support.  The many expressions of sympathy, which we have received from around the country, have given the local community a sense of comfort and strength.  I ask people to keep the McDonagh family in their prayers and also to remember the school friends of the boys who are naturally very upset at this difficult time.”